Alert February 03, 2017

Re-Register DMCA Agent by December 31, 2017, and Other New DMCA Registration Requirements

Summary

Section 512(c) of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (the DMCA) provides online service providers with conditional safe harbors from liability for copyright infringement resulting from the actions of their users. In order to qualify for safe harbor protection, among other requirements, the service provider must designate an agent to receive notifications of claimed copyright infringement, by making contact information for the agent available to the public on its website and by providing such information to the U.S. Copyright Office. Effective January 1, 2017, the U.S. Copyright Office established new registration requirements for designating agents under the DMCA, including a requirement that any service provider with an existing agent designation registration must re-register its designation of agent by December 31, 2017, in order to maintain eligibility under the DMCA safe harbor.

The new registration requirements include:

  • Re-Register Existing Designations of DMCA Agents by December 31, 2017: In order to maintain safe harbor protection under the DMCA, online service providers that have previously registered DMCA agent designations with the Copyright Office must re-register the designation by December 31, 2017, using the new online portal.
  • Register Via Online Portal: As of January 1, 2017, service providers must register and manage DMCA agent designations via the Copyright Office’s new online portal, available at https://dmca.copyright.gov/osp/login.html. The Copyright Office no longer accepts paper forms for the designation of DMCA agents.
  • Renew Designation Every Three Years: In order to maintain safe harbor protection under the DMCA, online service providers must renew their DMCA agent designations every three years, via the online portal. Note that registration fees have been significantly reduced, to $6 per designation.
  • List All Alternate Company and Product Names and Designations: DMCA Designation of Agent filings must now list “all alternate names that the public would be likely to use to search for the service provider’s designated agent in the Copyright Office’s online directory.” Examples include DBAs and other commonly used names for the service provider, website URLs and product/service names. Note that related service providers that are separate legal entities (such as a corporate parent vs. subsidiary) are considered separate service providers and need to file separate agent designations.

If you would like additional information about the issues addressed in this client alert, or qualifying for the DMCA’s safe harbors more generally, please contact Kevin V. Lam, or the Goodwin lawyer with whom you typically consult.